By MIKE MCGEE
The Dallas Examiner
Randall and Aaliyah Bryant appear to be the first known father and daughter to serve concurrent appointments on City of Dallas Boards and Commissions. In February, Randall Bryant was appointed by Councilman Tennell Atkins to the Redistricting Commission, which redraws the Dallas City Council boundary lines every 10 years.
Aaliyah was appointed to the Youth Commission in October by Councilman Jesse Moreno. The role of the commission is to give the city’s youth a voice in their community while inspiring them to become lifelong leaders, who are actively engaged in civic affairs, public policy and advocacy, according to the group.
The pair acknowledged that public service was personally important to them and felt it was a calling to work for a greater good.
“[I] sat on my first board when I was actually 23. About 11 years ago I served on the South Dallas/Fair Park Trust Fund,” he said, which is now called the City of Dallas South Dallas/Fair Park Opportunity Fund. “My inspiration originally came from my grandmother to get involved with local politics and serving the community.”
Afterward, Randall Bryant served as chair to the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats – Dallas Chapter.
Currently, he is the chair to the Dallas ISD Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprise Advisory Council. He is also president and CEO of Politics United Marketing, which “…specializes in Government Relations, Zoning & Land Use and Political Consulting,” per the company’s website.
Just as his grandfather did for him, Randall Bryant passed on his passion for community service.
Aaliyah, a freshman at Bishop Lynch High School and a member of Dallas County Young Democrats and NAACP Youth, pointed out that her beginnings into politics and community service was generational and inspiration as well.
“I guess when my dad started doing it. We go to a lot of meetings, so I get to see him do a bunch of stuff.” From that reference point, she took her first steps in supporting causes bigger than herself. “I just wanted to experience what it feels like.”
Randall Bryant spent years leading by example.
“I’ve built a life-long track record of service to the community which is why it was important for me to make sure that Aaliyah understood that, and start her journey in serving the community as well,” he affirmed.
When it came to personal goals, the father and daughter duo have somewhat divergent paths that still focus on the advancement of society. Aaliyah, who takes STEM classes, hoped to attend UCLA and major in chemistry; this at a time when African American women are slowly entering science fields for careers in steadily growing numbers. She also expressed that she would like to see more young people getting involved in community affairs.
Randall Bryant took pride in his past efforts while continuing his trajectory of furthering hope, opportunity and equality.
“I think that while we have seen a lot of strides taken, whether that be through elected office or through management of people of color throughout the city and many jurisdictions, I think the lack of economic development… the heavy concentration of poverty that still exists, is what gives Aaliyah and myself hope for the work that’s still laid upon us,” Randall Bryant confessed.
“Dallas has experienced a true transition of economic development, but the areas of town that have always lacked the resources & developments still do to this day.”
Such issues are what spurs him to continue to move forward in his various membership and leadership roles.
“That is what’s incumbent upon [us],” he continued. “And more importantly, there is the work that we do was always about teaching the history you our children as well so they understand … that those same mistakes do not continue to be repeated.”
Both father and daughter acknowledged the contribution of Ashley, their wife and mother, respectively, as an anchor to their successful civic involvement.
“Mrs. Bryant is the one who keeps it all going. She’s the super-mom, she’s the super-assistant,” he continued, describing her as “… the glue that keeps us all together.”
Aaliyah agreed with the positive assessment of her mother.
“She is the organizer. She organizes everything,” she said. “She has everything planned out.”
And on the topic of plans, Randall Bryant discussed his hopes for the Black communities of the city becoming more hands-on in the governance and functioning of Dallas City Hall.
“I think that we have by and large participated – voting-wise, increasing No. 1, through The Voting Rights Act of 1965. We’ve seen a steady increase in our numbers of voting participation, but true involvement, civic involvement, community engagement, goes beyond the ballot box,” he asserted.
“We have to get more involved with the policies and the policy decision-makers.”
He made it clear that voting was not enough.
“We need to start attending more of the meetings, giving public input where it’s needed, where it’s asked for – on every level, from school districts all the way up to congress,” Randall Bryant acknowledged.
“Because these decisions impact our lives, our livelihoods, and they impact generations to come.”